One morning this week as I was getting ready for work, I was listening to two pastors from my church on their weekly podcast. I enjoy their conversations every week (and can't speak highly enough of either of them-- I'm really grateful for strong, wise, humble leaders) but something about this conversation struck me and has stuck with me.
Nicole Unice and David Dwight were talking about why believers need to attend church, and after a really helpful and encouraging dialogue, he quoted this passage from C.S. Lewis that was so fascinating to me:
You've probably heard that passage, the "holy, holy, holy" refrain is one many of us in church circles know of, but it's striking that the Seraphim are calling it out to each other. I had never really thought about that part before.
David then added:
How cool is that?
How cool is it that when we gather, we can encourage and spur each other on in our worship, crying out to God and calling out to one another as we praise?
I'm struck by the fact that our church attendance, our participation, our engagement isn't only for our sake. It can be so easy to want to just skip church and sleep in, or to think I'm good on my own and I don't really need to go to church, but there's such rich value in showing up and being there.
I think of the times I've been moved to tears on hard Sunday mornings just from hearing other voices sing out around me.
I think of the new friend I met, the girl who showed up at my church by herself having never been to church before, and how I got to connect with her and invite her to come back again.
I think of the staff who poured time and energy into the service, and I know how disheartening it would be for them to look out on an emptier room if we all just decided not to show up.
I have moment after moment rolling through my mind, realizing all the ways it's encouraging and motivating and affirming for me in my faith to be among other worshipers. How much more joy can be found when we all join together and share our lives and our light together?
So, let me tell you a little story about a conversation I had this week with someone. It was at a church gathering that I wasn't even really sure I wanted to attend, but knowing other friends were going gave me the nudge to head there myself. I knew this person would be there, and I was anxious about how that would go.
This person had meant a lot to me several summers back, but they left the country for a few years, we lost touch and went our own ways, and this was the first time I was seeing them again. There had been many moments of heartache and emotion over those years, and I had no idea what to expect from this interaction. Hands shaking and heart racing, we started talking, and all my anxieties quickly faded. As we caught up about the years that had passed since we last were in the same city, I kept thinking to myself how cool God is that He redeems things and works things out in our lives in ways we never would have imagined but ways so much greater than we could have dared to hope for.
All I wanted to do after that conversation was go tell all my friends about how amazing our Heavenly Father is, that He would love us in such great ways and have such unique plans for our lives.
I felt joy, and I wanted to share it. I wanted to be like those Seraphim, shouting to the others around me, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty! Come and worship Him with me! Let's exalt His glorious name. How great is the Lord our God!"
That only happens when we come together, when we realize we can't do this life of faith in our own bubbles, when we do life alongside one another as we seek to glorify God.
I love the picture of believers gathering together in sacred spaces, even when their hearts are weary, even if they don't really want to be there, even if they're stressed about something else in life, and encouraging one another in their worship of their same God.
"Look at this thing He's doing!"
"Yes, I see it! And did you see this?! He's doing this new thing here too!"
"Amen! I'm with you! And God is moving this way in my life!"
"I don't feel Him here in mine, but I see your joy, I see your passion, I hear your story, and I'm coming alongside you in this journey!"
"Look at this glorious, mighty God of ours!"
"He has been faithful to me, He will be faithful to you."
"Yes, I see Him! Yes, I love him too! I'm seeking Him with you!"
What a picture.
What a gift.
I'm encouraged by this. I want to live my life more and more like this, sharing the joys of my faith, sharing the experiences I have with the Lord, sharing what I'm learning of Him, not for any glory of my own, but in humble adoration and worship of Him alongside other worshipers.
I genuinely want to know:
What are you seeing God doing in your life right now? If we were in the room together praising Him, what would you be calling out? What would you be lifting up?
May we never forget, we are in this life, in this fight, in this faith together. Let's encourage one another and build each other up. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)